Make Every Day as Fun as a Library Day

A library storytime is made up of stories, songs, rhymes, and other literacy activities to encourage a love of language.

To create that magic at home or on the go, you can mix and match elements to fit your own style, time and place, and your child's preferences. 

1. Check Out a Storytime Kit

CPL storytime kits include curated storytime elements like music, a puppet, and a fingerplay guide. Try alternating between active and quiet activities. For example, do a song or marching, then read, then play with the puppet, then read a little more. 

Breaking up the reading part into smaller pieces can help reach kids who struggle to sit still—and give an important wiggle outlet to kids who may sit still too often. If your child is just getting used to storytime, start with 10 minutes and work your way up to the 30 minute length they’ll experience at the library.

2. Pick the Right Books

We have lots of suggestions, but here are some things to keep in mind. 

If you enjoy a book, it will be more engaging for your child. Kids are very attuned to emotions, even if they cannot articulate it. If a book is ho-hum, don't read it.

Lean into repetition. At first it might feel monotonous, but once kids get to know a song or a story, they can sing it or tell it on their own. Then, you as the grownup can pull out that familiar piece of storytime whenever you need it (for example, singing "Baby Shark" during a diaper change, or telling one of the Pete the Cat stories as you're waiting in a grocery line). What starts as storytime can grow into using little engaging bits of literacy tools to make it through the day.

Mix in new and old books. Not only will you enjoy it more, but you can also give your child choices. If you have two or three books you plan to read, let them pick what order to read them. And if you start one and your kid is just not feeling it, it’s okay to abandon ship and grab a new one!

If you’ve got a group, pick books with bold, bright illustrations. Small, busy illustrations are fun one-on-one reads because you can point out or have your child help identify different things in the illustrations, but in a group, busy pictures can be hard to see.

Don’t forget it’s not just books. Our Story-Go-Round collection can help you learn different songs, action rhymes and more to enhance your experience.

3. Keep It Engaging

Ask your child questions along the way. Often kids like to guess what will happen next in the story or—if it is a familiar favorite—tell you what is going to happen next. Expert storytimers will sometimes purposely use the wrong animal sound, because the kids think it is funny and love to tell you the right sound. You can also try mixing up what happens next in a favorite story—they are sure to jump in and correct you.

Some of our storytime kits include Wonderbooks, which include both a read-along and a learning mode. In read-along mode, there is a chime that signals when to turn the page, and in learning mode there are questions that can help you engage your child to think about what they’ve read.

4. Make It Different from the Rest of the Day

Put out a blanket to sit on, set a timer, invite friends and encourage older siblings to get involved, too!

Blankets feel special and can help set a boundary for your activities. Setting a timer helps remind you to break it into chunks (and allows you to feel okay when the time you’ve set aside is up). Inviting friends can lead to rotating with another parent to help get your child used to paying attention to other adults. And while older siblings may seem too cool, they will probably be excited about getting to help be in charge.

Most of all, have fun!